Any way you slice it red cedar and white cedar are wonderful materials for constructing fences, or anything else that you might ever want to build outdoors. They offer many of the same benefits.
For example, they are equally easy to work with. Both woods are nice because they aren’t prone to splintering and cracking. You can even put nails or screws directly into either kind of cedar without causing any problems.
Neither wood needs to be artificially dried or treated in order to be successful. They can both air dry, and they both contain natural oils that make them resistant to insects, rotting, mold, and warping.
Both can take oils, paints, and coatings with ease, giving you enormous versatility when it comes to decoration and protection for your fence investment. They’re both extremely attractive, pleasing to the eye and to the nose.
This is, however, where the similarities between red cedar and white cedar end. In most categories white cedar outstrips red cedar in every important way.
It’s true that red cedar is a little stronger and less prone to knotting. However, knotting can be handled with inspection. Avoiding knots is mainly a matter of avoiding those that will create holes. Otherwise they are a natural part of any wood fence.
Strength is important, but the strength of white cedar is sufficient to withstand the demands of a fence, especially if your fence company treats mills white cedar the proper way. Our fencing company, for example, makes our fences stronger by milling our white cedar 1/4″ thicker than our competition does while choosing only the highest quality, top of the line cedar. These practices quickly close the strength gap.
However, white cedar’s oils are stronger. White cedar fences typically last longer than red cedar fences do, often as much as 10 years longer. That’s a significant difference. A fence is a considerable investment and it should last as long as possible.
In addition, in areas like Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Cedarburg, Mequon, Glendale and Menomonee Falls white cedar is simply the more environmentally friendly choice because it’s local. It doesn’t have to be shipped in from the West Coast like red cedar does. That means you save because getting the lumber here isn’t as expensive. Because red cedar isn’t a lumber located near our area, you would end up paying a lot more for a red cedar fence because of the additional shipping costs.
Note that this cost-benefit analysis would change if you were building a fence on the West Coast instead. In that case red cedar would be more local. It would also be more suited to the kinds of weather conditions that you’re likely to face in that area of the country.
In the end, both red cedar and white cedar are great materials to build fences with. We’re a little bias towards white cedar and our customers love the cedar fences we build! To find out more about our company and what we can build for you, contact us or call us for a free estimate (262) 251-6766!